What’s all the hugabaloo about?

May 2, 2008 at 11:26 am 4 comments

     Everyone has things that bother them on a sensory level. Some people don’t eat cottage cheese because of the texture, don’t like walking barefoot, or don’t like loud, crowded concerts. This is all a piece of the sensory puzzle; kids can be hyper-sensitive or hypo-sensitive to any number of things. C is both hyper and hypo, which makes it challenging to know exactly what will be problematic or uncomfortable for him.

     The first time I ever tried to set him down in the grass, up came his feet. He was a baby then, and it was almost comical to watch, because he didn’t even see the grass, he sensed the grass. Bottom went toward ground, feet came flying up. Bottom went back up, feet went back down. He did just about anything to avoid grass or sand. It was years before he would play in the sandbox instead of next to it. We cheered the first time he flailed around in a pile of leaves. He was 6.

     C’s hugs have followed a similar progression. The first hugs he ever gave were shoulder hugs. He’d offer his shoulder to someone for a hug. He’d kind of lean in with his shoulder touching the person. There was no arm involvement in these hugs, and his hips and body were usually as far away as possible from the other person. Then he progressed into a head hug, in which he sort of buried his head in someone’s side with no other bodily contact. After that, he started giving real hugs, but mostly on his own terms, when he wanted to do so. But like his language, his hugs are often copies of the one who is hugging him; if I pat his back as I’m hugging him, he’ll pat mine.

     The end to the story is, of course, the bear hugs that C now gives some of the time. Both arms, full-on body contact, snuggling completely. He saves those for people he knows and loves. (Everyone else gets the “everyone else” hug, which is a combo head, shoulder, one side of the body hug.) I live for these bear hugs and wish I could bottle them up to give to those who need them. For the longest time, that was what I (selfishly) found so troubling about the way C related to us; I wanted hugs, real, meaningful HUGS. And now I’ve got them to share. ((((HUGS))))

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Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

C-isms, Part IV What you don’t know

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